Ryder Cup coverage is all wet
So, was everyone online this morning booking their Wales golf vacations?
Wales – lovely, bucolic Wales – had an even worse first day of the Ryder Cup than ESPN, which got stuck showing replays of replays, just to fill time. If this wasn’t the worst-case scenario, it was a pretty good imitation of that.
Here’s a chronology of Day 1 coverage (all times Eastern):
2:53 a.m. – After Phil Mickelson flies the green on No. 1, ESPN analyst Paul Azinger notes that Mickelson is wearing two rain gloves for the first time in his career.
2:58 a.m. – Bill Kratzert notes that Mickelson is wearing two rain gloves for the first time in his career. That vaguely rings a bell.
3:08 a.m. – The weather is the story of the day. “This is awful, absolutely awful,” Colin Montgomerie tells ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. This is doing wonders for Wales tourism.
3:16 a.m. – Tiger Woods arrives at the first tee not wearing his rain jacket. “To be candid, we have heard several players on the U.S. side (are) unhappy with the rainsuits,” anchor Mike Tirico says. “They get very heavy and they are not 100 percent rainproof. In this day and age, I don’t know how that happens with all of the technology in rainsuits.”
3:35 a.m. – Andy North on the conditions: “If this was a normal Tour event, (the course) would be unplayable.” Meanwhile, Azinger revisits the rainsuit issue: “What a disaster if it’s true these rainsuits aren’t up to par. That’s just a tragic error.”
3:39 a.m. – Tirico: “I could have told you six years ago that the weather on Oct. 1 was going to be wet and windy.” No piling on, Mike.
4:20 a.m. – The conversation turns to Woods’ swing changes. ESPN’s Curtis Strange says Tiger is “working on some good stuff,” and Andy North adds that Woods “warmed up beautifully this morning in bad conditions.” Azinger brings some perspective: “Don’t you guys find it strange that a guy like Tiger Woods could rely on somebody else to just completely change his swing?”
4:32 a.m. – Our first Ryder Cup dust-up? Kratzert thinks Mickelson is peeved over a drop Lee Westwood received on No. 4: “I think the mood’s a little cool out here.”
4:33 a.m. – We’re two hours in, and the first group is just heading to the sixth tee. I program the DVR to record an extra hour this afternoon.
4:45 a.m. – Play is suspended.
4:46 a.m. – It dawns on me that all of the golf carts shown zipping around the course don’t have roofs or windshields. Wales spent millions to get the Ryder Cup and they can’t get carts with roofs?
Ryder Cup: Friday four-ball matches
Rain soaked the first round of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
5:12 a.m. – We get a feature on Woods’ woes from Rinaldi, who I like to refer to as “Tearjerker Tom.” The thought occurs to me: Rinaldi is to men what Lifetime movies are to women.
5:13 a.m. – I flip over to Lifetime to see which femme fatale is falling in love/plotting her husband’s death/dying.
5:26 a.m. – Tirico informs viewers that there won’t be any golf until at least 7 a.m. I program the DVR to record another extra hour this afternoon.
5:32 a.m. – ESPN replays the morning matches to fill time. Just a hunch: The Americans will still be trailing in three of four matches when (if?) live action resumes.
6:06 a.m. – Azinger says the rain is so heavy that worms are “pouring out of the ground.” Why do we not have footage of this?
6:59 a.m. – Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ words accompany images of squeegee crews mopping the fairways: “. . . I wandered and listened to the rain wringing; wind blow cold in the wood faraway under me.” I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Thomas never worked for the Wales Tourist Board.
8:03 a.m. – Rinaldi reports that PGA officials used a corporate card to buy new rainsuits for the American team. The ESPN crew hasn’t yet named the manufacturer of the U.S. rainsuits.
8:08 a.m. – ESPN starts second replay of the aborted four-ball session. I still feel confident the Euros will be leading three of four matches when play resumes.
9:09 a.m. – Stewart Cink tells Rinaldi that conditions were “as bad as I’ve ever played in.”
9:11 a.m. – Tirico refers to the apparel malfunction as Gore-TexGate. You knew that was coming. Rick Reilly notes the PGA bought 24 new ProQuip rainsuits at $554 (350 pounds) apiece. Of the manufacturer of the discarded rainsuits, Reilly quips, “Hey, it said Sun Mountain, not Rain Mountain.”
9:15 a.m. – Reilly notes that when the Ryder Cup was awarded to Wales nine years ago, it was supposed to be played in early September. But the 4-year-old FedEx Cup pushed it back to wetter October. So there’s another reason not to like the FedEx Cup.
10 a.m. – ESPN cuts to SportsCenter. I cut to a recording of last week’s episode of “Mad Men.”
12:14 p.m. – Play has resumed after a 7-hour, 15-minute weather delay, but conditions remain tenuous. Mickelson’s footprints are plainly evident after his par putt (missed, natch. . . ) on No. 7.
12:56 p.m. – Azinger on Woods: “He’s willing to take anybody’s swing advice. He seems to be a little bit lost right now. . . . I don’t understand it. Arguably, you’ve got one of the greatest players of all time, and he’s just switching to some other guy’s swing. . . . Tiger’s got to have ownership of what he does best.”
2:08 p.m. – Azinger says the format change – the Saturday session of six foursome matches – favors Europe: “There were some guys that Corey probably doesn’t want to play alternate shot. . . . (The Americans have) bombers on our team, not a bunch of guys who are peppering fairways.” But he says Colin Montgomerie “has put a lot of pressure on his players talking about the result and talking about the importance of winning this event.”
2:09 p.m. – Tirico signs off, noting that the weather forecast is “a little dicey” for Sunday. I program the DVR to record ESPN and NBC starting at 2 a.m. Monday.
2:11 p.m. – SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross says ESPN2 is re-airing Ryder Cup coverage. No, thanks. I’ve already seen it three times today.